If you follow trends in makeup at all, you know that lately the big thing is contouring. Contouring is where you basically use makeup that’s both lighter and darker than your skin tone to give the illusion of more defined cheekbones and things like that. Contouring has been around for a while, but I blame the Kardashians for the face that we’re rapidly approaching Peak Contour.
Anyway, I haven’t really gotten on board with contouring because I have really strong, defined features and so I just don’t see the point in making them even MORE defined. This is particularly true in the couple of years since I picked up the intensity in my training and also improved the quality of my diet. I wouldn’t say that I’m skeletal but I’ve definitely leaned out to the point that my already-pronounced bone structure is now basically a gigantic set of cheekbones these days, so contouring seems pretty much pointless.
So imagine my amusement when I read an article dissecting about the beauty scourge known as “runner’s face.” Runner’s face is basically the “gaunt, skeletal look you end up with if you run for fun or fitness,” a terrible affliction that can conveniently be treated through injectables like “hyaluronic acid fillers,” which luckily for those of us with disposable income can be attained at your friendly local plastic surgeon’s office.
- Women should do exercises to get skinny;
- Then when we get skinny and thus start looking “gaunt,” we should inject shit in our faces to plump them up again;
- Then we should blend brown powder on our freshly-injected faces so we can go back to looking “gaunt” again.
Or, you could just be like me and Tracy at Fit is a Feminist Issue and not give a fuck.
The thing I find most frustrating about this is how it clearly illustrates all the stupid, contradictory ways in which all of these beauty standards manifest themselves. Like, the standards can’t even be consistent in their demands. It’s basically just “you suck, so buy our shit and maybe you can suck a little less!”
Look, I enjoy beauty products and I think makeup is fun. Anyone who is friends with me knows this. I didn’t attain VIB status at Sephora by accident, okay? But I also know that a lot of goes on in the world of beauty is basically the promotion of a very specific kind of youthful, Eurocentric, upper-class aesthetic that most of us cannot attain without an investment of time, attention and money. Being into beauty and makeup and skin care can be enjoyable, but if you uncritically accept every single message flung your way, it can also be really fucking demoralizing.
I also have a huge problem with this expectation that the most important thing a woman can do is cultivate her appearance so she achieves that aesthetic, even if it means curtailing her participation in the activities that give her life. This expectation is put out there with the implicit understanding that who matters most in a woman’s life is not the woman herself but all of the people who have to look at her. Damn straight, I have a problem with that.
I don’t particularly feel the need to take the money I work very hard to earn and hand it over to a plastic surgeon so they can fill my face full of god knows what that will most likely just leave me looking vaguely plasticine anyway. I’m certainly not about to stop running, that’s for sure.
I actually like my runner’s face. I have runner’s face because I have been working really hard at becoming the best athlete I can possibly be. I’m healthy and I’m strong and I’m fast. When I run, I feel like a goddamned cheetah. A bit of hollowness in the cheek area – which, might I remind you, is also considered desirable as evidenced by all the fucking contouring kits now available – is a very, very small price to pay for the deep existential pleasures I get when I lace up a pair of shoes and pound out miles in the early-morning hours before work.
For what it’s worth, I’m all about wearing sunscreen and sunblock, which I will admit is partially out of vanity and partially because I try to do what I can to limit my risk of skin cancer, which is a very real concern seeing as though I’m an endurance athlete who lives in one of the sunshine-iest states in the United States. But all of the shit about injectables and fillers and what have you? I’ll pass, thanks. I’d rather use that money for a new racing kit or a pair of running shoes.
Okay, rant concluded.